Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre is currently preparing for a brand new opera premiere: on 22, 23 and 24 the main stage of the theatre shall become home to a production of Richard Wagner’s mysterious opera ""Lohengrin"". The production is dedicated to the Anniversary Year of the composer - in 2013 the whole world is celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Wagner’s birth. This new version of ""Lohengrin"" is produced by a talented international team – it’s members admit, that their main inspiration was history of the city of Vilnius and its symbol, the Cathedral.
The members of the creative team include conductor Robertas Šervenikas, director Andrejs Žagars from Latvia and his colleagues - set designer Reinis Suhanovs, costume designer Kristine Pasternaka, choreographer Elita Bukovska and others.
Mr. Andrejs Žagars revealed that he found the turbulent history of Vilnius in the beginning of the 20th century particularly inspiring. ""For ""Lohengrin"", we tried to find a historical period that would be close to the troubled times depicted in the opera. This is how we found the 1940s, beginning of the II World War, when Russians and Germans were friends at first and collaborated with each other, then fell apart and became enemies. In this historical backdrop there is a difficult situation of Vilnius and its dramatic returning to Lithuania. We studied the story of this city with great care"".
The past of Vilnius in this case worked as an inspiration, rather than as a solid supply of exact details - in this production we shall have only the atmosphere: the middle of the 20th century with its stylish costumes and dream-like aesthetics.
The Vilnius cathedral serves as the principal image for the set designs of ""Lohengrin"". ""Its classical form with columns hints towards something that could be a peculiar official building of the state. In the landscape of Vilnius, which is dominated by Baroque churches, the Cathedral is unique in its majestic massiveness. It seems that this could be the perfect place for people to find shelter during the difficult times. Incidentally, during the war churches and cathedrals had many functions: people would gather there to hear the latest news, to seek refuge or to simply spend the night with a secure roof over their heads,"" - said A. Žagars.
All this fits perfectly with the plot of ""Lohengrin"". Its production at the LNOBT will offer the audience quite a few surprises, and yet the creative team is first of all striving to, according to the director, ""present the audience with a very vivid, human story. I had no wish to tell a story about divine entities and super-humans. My goal is to help people enjoy the magic of Wagner’s music without any disturbance.""
Andrejs Žagars is not only a director, but also the General Manager of the Latvian National Opera. He started his creative career as a theatre and cinema actor, working not only in Latvia, but also in Lithuania and Russia. A. Žagars was bestowed many awards for his exceptional achievements in theatre and management, one of them – 2011 Cross of Officer of the Order for Merits to Lithuania.
Pictures by Martynas Aleksa - from the press conference."